Halloween has come and gone which means one thing, "its almost time for snowboarding season!" Unlike other sports such as surfing, snowboarding only takes place during the winter. With finite time and relatively high costs, it makes sense to find the best snowboarding mountains. This post will discuss the 5 best snowboarding locations in the US like Aspen, Mammoth, Telluride, Mt Baker and Park City.
Any list that mentions the best snowboarding locations in the US wouldn't be complete without Aspen, as it's internationally known for it's snow and prestige. This posh town in Colorado is the most mentioned ski area in the media. In fact, movies like Vanilla Sky, Dumb & Dumber and TV shows including South Park frequently mention this area. Also, this area inspired the popular song, Rocky Mountain High by John Denver. With all this publicity, it must have the snow quality to draw such attention.
Fortunately, Aspen lives up to its name by offering four unique mountains consisting of 5,300 acres of shredable powder. These mountains include Snow Mass, Aspen Mountain, Aspen High land and Buttermilk. These mountains were primarily for skiers, but have become open to snowboarding. Also, these mountains have 43 lifts which take riders to either green (10%), blue (43%), black (19%) or double black (28%) diamond runs. For those new to snow sports, green runs are the easiest, blues are harder and range up to the most difficult double black runs.
Due to its high elevation at 7,789 ft above sea level, Aspen generally has high quality powder during its season. Unlike lower elevation mountains, Aspen isn't as reliant on man made snow. While man made snow can be enough to get in a session, it freezes easily creating icy conditions. In fact, Aspen receives 300'' of snow per season and chair lifts open later this month and close in mid April.
Colorado is known for its epic snowboarding, but what about California? Yes, California where you can theoretically surf and snowboard in the same day has Mammoth Mountain. Mammoth mountain is located in central California close to the Nevada border and its base has an elevation of 9,000 ft above sea level. Similar to Aspen, Mammoth's high elevation allows it to receive plenty of natural snow. As a matter of fact, Mammoth mountain had its longest season in 2017 with runs being open through July! This unusually long snow season was caused by la niña which dumped 616 inches during 2017. Thus, riders were able to ski in t-shirts during the 4th of July.
Mammoth mountain also has four mountains with options for all riders. Mammoth mountain is known for having a variety of snow activities including terrain parks. These terrain parks include Main Park, Forest trail and Play grounds. Main park is the most advanced area and has 40% jibs, 60% jumps along with a 22' half pipe. If you're not familiar with snowboarding vocab, a jib is an obstacle in which a boarder jumps on, over or slides against. For example, a popular jib is a rail, which is quite similar to skateboarders riding rail. Jibbing can also mean to ride on these obstacles with Jibsticks being special snowboards designed for terrain parks.
Many of the best snowboarding locations in the US are located in Colorado and Telluride is no exception. In fact, this town is 200 miles or a 4 hour car ride from Aspen. Due to its proximity, it must have some good powder. Luckily, Telluride has many opportunities for snowboarders without all the publicity. Telluride is a smaller town that isn't littered with 5 star resorts and was named the world's best ski resort by Forbes Magazine. Telluride is often shadowed by larger ski towns like Vail and Aspen, leaving its ski lifts not as crowded.
Telluride has plenty of opportunities for all riders, including Nordic skiers. Nordic skiers can also be called cross country skiers as they opt out of skiing down hill, but rather travel through kilometers of wilderness. Telluride offers 10 kilometers of paved trails with amazing views of the San Juan Mountains that lead skiers through scenic meadows. For more adventurous riders, Telluride has 148 trails mostly catered towards beginner/intermediate riders. Advanced snowboarders also have sufficient black diamond runs and terrain parks to keep them satisfied too.
Mt. Baker is located in Washington state, making it a perfect getaway for Seattle residents. In fact, this prime snowboarding area is only 2.5 hours from Seattle, which makes for a great day trip. Also, this area is close to Vancouver, making it an easy day trip destination for Canadians. This mountain is not only convenient, but it has 38 runs within 1000 acres of ride-able terrain. However, this mountain caters more to beginner/intermediate riders as 67% of the runs are blue and green level.
In comparison to other resorts, Mt. Baker is smaller snowboarding area and its elevation is 5,089 ft. above sea level. Despite this, Mt. Baker receives plenty of snow, roughly 682'' per season. This can make it possible to enjoy powder without all the crowds. While Mt. Baker offers black diamond runs, it doesn't have as many challenging runs geared toward advanced riders. It does offer a terrain park, but this mountain is more geared toward free riding.
Park City, Utah is a great place to ski or snowboard. In fact, Park City host the 2002 winter Olympics and is considering re-hosting the games in 2026. Since it hosted these prestigious games, Park City must have great boarding available, right? Well, it does have 347 trails,14 bowls and 8 terrain parks. These features give Park city the title as the largest ski resort in the US. While all riders can enjoy Park City, it has mostly black and double black diamond runs for advanced riders.
Besides snowboarding, Park city is known for hosting the world famous Sundance film festival. This town is known for its culture and many famous films like Napoleon Dynamite, were originally shown at Sundance. Some films start as low budget films, but can eventually be cult classics with the right luck and timing. Park City also has other fun summertime activities like the Alpine slide and Jordanelle Reservoir. Visitors can fish and hike at the Jordanelle reservoir and slide down the alpine slide with a toboggan cart. The cart is fixed to tracks and riders can accelerate by moving the joy stick forward or decelerate by moving it back.
Fall is here and many places are gearing up for the upcoming snow season. Most places open in november with Mammoth opening in a week while others open closer to December. Average snow seasons typically run until mid April, but rare, heavy snowfall can cause runs to be open in the summer. Snowboarding isn't cheap and has a short season, making it crucial to choose the best runs. There are many snowboarding areas, but Aspen, Mammoth, Telluride, Mt. Baker and Park City are the best snowboarding locations in the US.